Names are important. They can impact perception of character, help provide meaning and identity. I’ve put a lot of thought into most of my dogs’ names.
The first dogs in my life were named Lancelot and Gandalf. I haven’t mentioned them in previous posts… I only knew them briefly, but they both had a big impact on me. More about that later. Both were named for mythic figures. If I remember correctly, my family settled on Lancelot for a name, while Gandalf’s came with him.
The myth theme has been consistent, mixed in with an animal theme. Wolf was named in part because I always wanted to name a dog Wolf, and in part because the first time I saw him, he looked like one. Panda was black and white. Kestry’s took more thought; he was a rehome/rescue dog who’d been mistreated by the first owners, then was lucky enough to be pulled from a shelter and make it back to his breeder. His original name was PJ… his breeder wanted it changed, and so did I. No bad associations. He was from the ‘K’ litter, so his breeder asked me to come up with a name starting with that letter. It took a little research (kangaroo didn’t roll off the tongue), but I settled on Kestrel… a small predatory bird that I read was known for flying into the wind. I liked the image of facing adversity. Kestrel became Kestry pretty quickly. I registered him with the AKC as Black Gold Kestrel Dream, Black Gold being the kennel name.
Phoenix was next, bridging the animals and the myths. He came directly from a breeder, and the litter theme was fire. I adopted him soon after losing Wolf to old age, so the idea of rising from the ashes had great appeal. His registered name was Gefion’s Istari, after the ‘tribe’ of wizards in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings… a tribute to both the literary and canine Gandalfs.
Raven also came from a breeder friend. I wanted a bird name for her, and my friend suggested Raven, since she’s mostly black. Her litter theme was Talking Heads songs, so her registered name is Merriment’s And She Was. There’s more behind that name, but I’ll save it for another time. Besides being an animal name, Raven is also a figure in Native American mythology.
Next came Gryphon. I knew I was getting him from yet another breeder friend, and I had long lists of possible names, including Japanese words for wolf and fox, but, Gryphon was the winner. I haven’t gotten him registered yet, but intend to register him through the AKC’s ILP program as Pack Magic’s Spiffy Gryphy.
Seelie, my fourth rescue after Wolf, Panda, and Kes, had several names before I adopted him. He was Chance when he went into rescue, and Rudy with his foster mom. ‘Seelie’ refers to the seelie court of elves in Scottish folklore – mischievous but not evil. Seelie is registered as Seelie with the AKC’s Pet Partners program.
Merlin, my fifth rescue, came with his name. His registered name, according to the paperwork is Moreland’s Merlin’s Magical Moment. No need to change it – if fits him, and both the animal and mythological aspects of my theme, since a merlin is another small predatory bird.
Of course, after all that deep thought and research and high-falutin’ themes, I mangle their names with silly nicknames… which will be the subject of tomorrow’s post.